The best winter-care tips for motorists

Air conditioning dial in a car
Seasonal savvy: there are various ways to look after your car during the winter months Credit: Getty

Keep your vehicle shipshape this winter with these top car care tips for driving in ice, snow, wind, fog and rain

As the temperature drops and road conditions worsen, it is even more crucial to care for your car. For many, it’s the only way to get from A to B, even in the harshest elements.

So in order to keep on the move you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is in the best possible condition. Here are some valuable tips and tricks to help you along the way.

1 Keep it clean

No one enjoys cleaning their car in freezing conditions, but it’s advisable to give yours a wash at least once a week during the winter months.

Keep at it: many people neglect cleaning duties during winter Credit: Getty

This will reduce the build-up of grit and grime, thereby protecting its bodywork from corrosion. You should also wipe dirt away from headlight lenses and number plates daily, to ensure other motorists can see you clearly.

2 Cover the windscreen at night

Save yourself the hassle of an early-morning wrestle with an ice scraper by covering your windscreen at night. You can buy special foil-backed blinds for this, but an old blanket or some newspaper works just as well. When the time comes to head out, simply remove the cover and you’re good to go.

Clear way forward: covering your windscreen can save scraping time in the morning Credit: Getty

If that’s too much like hard work, many newer cars feature quick-clear windscreens, featuring an in-built heater to de-ice and de-mist at the touch of a button.

3 Spread shaving foam on the inside of your screen

Here’s a trick to keep the inside of your windscreen mist-free. Spread shaving foam over it and leave it to dry. Then wipe it off with a damp cloth.

Handy tip: applying shaving foam can help reduce mist on your windscreen Credit: Getty

You’ll find the screen fog-free when you next venture forth, without needing to work the heater on overdrive. It also works with your rear-view mirror (and your bathroom mirror, come to mention it).

4 Keep the battery charged

If you don’t use your car daily in winter, it is worth investing in a battery charger. These can be plugged into the mains to send a trickle charge through to your car battery. That minimises the chances of a flat battery ruining your plans; especially worthwhile on older vehicles.

Keep moving: ensuring your battery is charged helps avoid frustrating delays Credit: Getty

5 Keep screen wash topped up

You should keep a ready supply of strong screen wash in your car to prevent pipes from freezing and help maintain your car in winter. You can buy large bottles of ready-mixed winter-strength fluid from most garage forecourts and service stations – perfect for storing in your boot.

Keep things flowing: winter-strength screen wash helps prevent pipes freezing Credit: Getty

Before you park up at the day’s end, give the windscreen a healthy squirt and that should stop the pipes from freezing when the temperature drops overnight.

6 Use your air conditioning to stop filters clogging and reduce misting

It makes sense to switch air conditioning off during the winter months. The last thing you want is ice-cold air circulating around your car and you don’t need it on for the heater to work. But you should give it a blast every day to stop the filters clogging.

Keep it clear: give the air con a quick blast each day to prevent clogging Credit: Getty

What’s more, air con dries the interior, especially when it is working efficiently on a newer car. That will help to reduce misting of windows and mirrors also minimise the build-up of any damp.

7 Look after your seats

Winter takes its toll on a car’s interior. Each time you clamber in, the chances are you’ll be carrying a load of dirt with you. One way to keep things spick and span is to invest in seat covers.

Clean and comfortable: seat covers can help guard against winter grime Credit: Getty

Many manufacturers, especially of prestige four-wheel drives such as the Land Rover Discovery, sell made-to-measure covers that will protect the interior of your car from the worst that the weather can throw at it. Along with rubber mats, these make a lot of sense in winter, especially if you have kids in tow.

8 Keep up to date with maintenance

No matter what age your vehicle, winter is a time to be assiduous about its maintenance. Keep an eye on antifreeze, oil and brake fluid levels, and be sure to check your tyres regularly.

Stay on track: it is vital to keep on top of maintenance during the winter Credit: Getty

Road safety experts at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) recommend a minimum tread depth of 3mm or more, giving you enough grip even in icy or wet conditions.

9 Consider an upgrade

Winter is an obvious time to consider upgrading your car to something newer. That way, you’ll have a vehicle you can rely on, even when conditions turn tough.

Options open: car leasing is something to consider when looking for a new vehicle Credit: Getty

Car leasing provides a wide range of options, giving you the chance to afford a newer, better-spec vehicle that will keep you happily motoring, whatever the weather.

The simplest way to drive a new car 

Select Car Leasing is one of the UK's largest independent specialists for car leasing as well as business leasing.  They have been providing customers a cost effective, hassle-free way to lease cars and vans for more than 15 years.

Browse their extensive range of car leasing deals here or simply speak to one of their expert leasing consultants on 0118 920 5130.